How To Use The Doctopus Add-on For Google Sheets

Teachers love using Google Sheets. It is one of the greatest tools for modernizing the way you teach. Google Sheets is a powerful tool on its own, but did you know that add-ons can supercharge the way you manage your classroom? You can combine add-ons and spreadsheets to track and distribute homework and grades, manage attendance, and organize contact information.

There are so many great add-ons available for Google Sheets. One of our favorites is Doctopus. Doctopus is an add-on that allows teachers to transform the way they assign and manage student projects. With Doctopus, teachers can distribute projects virtually using master template Docs they store on their Google Drive. There are a lot of different options, but for example, they can give the students all access to one Doc, or have Doctopus create an individual Doc for each student or group.

But there is more! You have high-levels activity monitoring and permission granting which teachers use for many different reasons, such as tracking student progress, project cut-off times, and peer-reviewing. You can easily add grades and feedback and send it off by email, all from within the spreadsheet!

The creator of Doctopus is a science teacher turned school administrator who wanted to transform teacher and student collaboration. When coming up with the concept he imagined an octopus using its tentacles to hand out homework around the web. Pretty cute! Doctopus delivers. Use its full functionality to see how your teaching methods improve. Your students will love it too!

Teachers use blended technology to improve classroom workflows and teach their students valuable tech skills they will need in life. Google Sheets and Doctopus are helping to make that happen. Today we are showing you how to use Doctopus so you can make it happen for your classroom too!


Some Core Features of Doctopus

  • Create a class roster for multiple classes.
  • Create a structured, shared folder.
  • Choose to share a document, project, or entire folder with one or multiple classes at once.
  • Share different versions with students based on their level.
  • Automatically grant or restrict various permissions.
  • Use email to send notifications, feedback, and grades
  • Gain statistical insights into how your students revise their work and collaborate.
  • Integrate with Goobric.


How to Access Doctopus

It is really simple to get add-ons for Sheets! The fastest way to get Doctopus is to click this link that will take you directly to the web store. Simply click the Free button and the add-on will be added to your Google Sheets account.

Alternatively, you can get the add-on by following these steps:

1. Open a spreadsheet
2. Click the add-ons button in the navigation menu
3. Click the Get Add-ons button
4. A window will pop up for you to browse
5. Type “Doctopus” in the search box.
6. Click the Free button to get the add-on

You are ready to start using Doctopus!


How to Use Doctopus

Launch Doctopus

First, click add-ons → Doctopus

When you first open Doctopus, it will greet you and help you get started:


how to use doctopus


Get started by creating a class roster! Let Doctopus create an organized class folder structure and then start copying and sharing Drive files with students in a range of configurations. Then, supercharge your grading workflow with the Goobric web app!”

Google Classroom mode: Easily ingest existing Google Classroom Assignments for use with Goobric, providing a seamless paperless rubric assessment workflow!”

Roster mode: Doctopus in its full-tentacled glory. Distributes drive resources to a roster of students’ class Drive folders. Great for differentiated and group projects. Allows embargo, Goobric, etc.”


Follow the Steps in the Toolbar

Look at the Doctopus toolbar on the right side of the sheet.

For Step 1 you can choose to either:

  1. Ingest a Google classroom assignment
  2. Distribute drive resources to a roster

Option 1 is only for teachers who use Google Classroom with the G Suite for Education apps.

Today we will choose option 2.

how to use doctopus

Next, select build a new roster in the toolbar. Then, select on this sheet, and finally, click the “Create Roster” button.


how to use doctopus


Populate your class list with names and emails. Use a different roster for each class, Doctopus recommends you keep the roster under 40 students. Once you have entered all the names, choose a name for your class, select the ‘create class folders’, and click the “Create and Share Folders” button in the right side toolbar.

how to use doctopus

Voila! Doctopus has created cascading, organized folders within your Google Drive! Simply click the link to open them.

For your next step, you will choose a sharing type. 

how to use doctopus

Then, set sharing and permission levels. For your next step, you will choose a sharing type. (insert image that shows sharing types) Then, set sharing and permission levels. (insert image that shows this)

Now it’s time to start filling those folders up! Doctopus will prompt you to upload a Doc from your Google Drive. Choose where in your Doctopus folders to keep the file, and add a special message to your students if you want.  

how to use doctopus

Now for more Doctopus magic! The header populates with more content, and the app works like a digital copy maker to make an individual file for each student! Here is your dashboard for this assignment!


how to use doctopus

Join the Doctopus community to collaborate and brainstorm with other teachers!

Have fun exploring Doctopus and seeing how it can transform the way you interact with students!